The EFF calls on Sentech to put the 15 community radio station stations back on air. State-owned entity Sentech has put 15 Community Radio Stations off air and it provides broadcast distribution services to 134 of the country's 200 community radio stations, with rural ones particularly reliant on it.
It is a shame that community radio stations, which are non-profit entities, are expected to raise their own funds through advertising, sponsorship and fundraising. If the radio stations are owing money to Sentech, it is clear that the grant money offered by the Media Development and Diversity Agency, another state-owned entity, is insufficient to cover the expenses of the stations.
Community Radio Stations are a source of information on which the communities in which they are based rely on. It is through communication that leaders are elected into office by their constituencies, if the constituencies know about the leaders, and it is through communication that people are able to exercise control over the direction and activity of the government by incorporating certain opinions and preferences in the policies and laws of the land which they are informed about. Our people, who were previously disadvantaged, are put in an even worse position when they are deprived of knowledge and information.
At the rate at which our country is developing, community radio has provided easy access to information for all citizens, even the ones to in marginalised rural parts of the country to which television and internet access has not been made available. The switching off these stations also creates a dire situation of unemployment in the communities and already the ANC government has failed to provide sustainable jobs.
The EFF calls on the Communications Minister, Nomvula Mokonyane to make sufficient funding available to all community radio stations and the governments in the respective legislations to which the radio stations belong support the stations in terms of advertising. The continued squandering of funds and corruption existent in the government is what has led to this debacle.
The EFF is an organisation of the people and there will never be a time where the leadership will collapse it for quick conveniences and benefits.